Let's Get “Weird!” with Yungblud
13 shades of Yungblud
13 shades of Yungblud
Text: Ahad Sanwari
Let me start off by saying that there’s nothing cohesive about the album. So many of the songs sound so different from the others, and there’s a whole different vibe going on with each quarter of the record. I repeat, it’s not cohesive at all.
But that’s the beauty of it.
This is exactly what Yungblud promised, and this is exactly what he delivered. Speaking with NME, the English singer described his album, saying, “There’s a lot of diversity on [the album] – it’s like an episode of Skins in an album.” The record offers up several different shades of the artist, not only as a musician and singer, but also as a person. He embraces vulnerability in songs like “love song” and “god save me, but don’t drown me out,” creates narratives in “mars” and “it’s quiet in beverly hills,” and goes for straight up bangers like “cotton candy” and “acting like that,” his collab with Machine Gun Kelly.
But there’s the distinct sound of a hard-edged rockstar that dominates a majority of the tracks. The only difference is how magnified that sound is and what other sounds skip around with it. There’s rock on “cotton candy,” for example, but it listens more like the sugary sweet confection it’s named after. The title track boasts some ridiculously earworm-y synth melodies. “the freak show” is one prominent instance of where all his different musical influences come together into one, sounding like a collaboration between Billie Joe Armstrong, Britney Spears, and Adam Levine. And he’s not afraid to pick up an acoustic guitar every once in a while to show off a softer side.
To those unfamiliar with Yungblud, you might listen to this and think of an anarchist, someone who just wants to watch the world burn. But he just wants to watch the world change, he wants everyone to embrace their weirdness and be comfortable in their own skins. There’s a lot of love songs on the record, but there’s no real description of what anyone he sings to ever looks like, because it could be you. It could be anyone. This song, this album, it’s all for you, whoever you are. His primal yell on “the freak show” to close the album is emblematic of the entire tone the record sets, a pissed off 23 year old who has something to say.
“god save me, but don’t drown me out” could be a modern “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” “love song” sounds like it fits on the soundtrack for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Half of the songs on here could be on a Riverdale soundtrack…well, if the show was about the Southside Serpents (and much cooler). Its cohesiveness is in the complete dissonance and refusal to conform to a specific type or sound that Yungblud has displayed throughout his entire career. And that makes it all the better to listen to.
Best tracks: “mars,” “it’s quiet in beverly hills,” “love song,” and “weird!”
Weakest tracks: “superdeadfriends” (it’s the only one where the production overwhelms the singer)
The track that’s actually three tracks: “the freak show”